Deathwatch (2002)

Genres - Drama, Horror, War  |   Sub-Genres - Supernatural Horror  |   Run Time - 94 min.  |   Countries - Germany, France, United Kingdom, Italy, United States  |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Jeremy Wheeler

Deathwatch is a highly crafted atmospheric creep-out that knows when to go for the jugular and when to slather on the paranoia. Much better than the like-minded horrific war outing The Bunker, writer/director Michael Bassett's tale is a grim tale of trench warfare that delivers the creeps as much as the grotesque. Headed by a gonzo psychotic performance from Andy Serkis (Peter Jackson's Gollum for all you counting), the movie is a showcase for the cast, with lead Jamie Bell keeping it all together with a kind of wide-eyed naïveté that the viewer needs for the story to work. Aided by Hubert Taczanowski's splendid visual eye, the film has a great look that draws you in while the gruesome effects deliver a nightmarish battlefield as well as some bravura gore moments. Effectively chilly throughout most of the flick, there's a feeling that Deathwatch is exactly the movie that it was intended to be -- one that doesn't deflate amongst its own aspirations nor is it shackled by budget restraints. There aren't too many films in the war horror playground, but you can be sure that this one will be there, still standing on its own respectable merits.